Hamilton handles boring cargo

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by Emily Atkins

A trio of tunnel boring machines (TBMs) has arrived in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe, destined for Toronto’s Eglinton Crosstown West Extension and Scarborough Subway Extension projects.

A cutter head is unloaded at the Port of Hamilton.

Following a two-week journey across the Atlantic, the boring machines, one 12 metres in diameter and the other two both 6.5 metres in diameter, arrived at the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority’s ( HOPA Ports) Ontario ports.

All manufactured by Herrenknecht in Germany, the larger Scarborough Subway Extension TBM was delivered to the Port of Oshawa, and the other two, for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension project, were delivered to the Port of Hamilton.

Scarborough’s TBM, weighing in at 2,000 tonnes, will help build the largest subway tunnel in Toronto’s history.

The TBMs are so large, they have to be loaded into vessels in pieces for assembly at their final destinations.

“As an integrated port network, we look to create better connections for businesses and industrial users moving cargo throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe,” said Ian Hamilton, president and CEO of HOPA Ports.

Greeting the Jumbo Vision at Oshawa. Metrolinx VP, Scarborough Subway Extension, Mark Ciavarro; CEO of Metrolinx, Phil Verster; Mayor of Oshawa, Dan Carter; QSL senior sales representative, Kevin Paradis-Rioux; and HOPA president and CEO, Ian Hamilton.

Week-long unloading

The Scarborough TBM arrived at the Port of Oshawa aboard the heavy load carrier Jumbo Vision, where over the course of an entire week longshoremen discharge the vessel and the TBM piece by piece.

That is where the port’s stevedore, QSL, and its expertise comes in.

“QSL is a provider of tailor-made solutions for all cargo types,” said QSL senior sales representative, Kevin Paradis-Rioux.

“This particular job has taken over a year to coordinate from start to finish. The discharge of the TBM is an example of the customized solutions we can provide for heavy equipment manufacturers.”

Come spring, the Scarborough TBM will begin burrowing a single 7.8km-long tunnel – from Sheppard and McCowan to Kennedy Station – clearing an underground pathway for the three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension.

The twin TBM cutter heads bound for the Eglinton Crosstown West project came through the port of Hamilton aboard the Federal Delta, handled by stevedore Federal Marine Terminals.

“FMT is pleased to be a part of this exciting project for the region. We value our long-term partnership with HOPA by playing an essential role in the economic success of the Port and region. Handling the TBMs from a Fednav vessel illustrates our complete, integrated service offering, providing reliability and value to our customers,” said Matthew McPhail, vice-president, sales and marketing, FMT.

The Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, expected to be complete in 2030-2031, will extend the Eglinton Crosstown LRT another 9.2 kilometres farther west through Etobicoke and into Mississauga. The TBMs arriving through the Port of Hamilton will tunnel the section between Renforth Drive and Scarlett Road.